Perry Township voters extend school tax hike; Franklin Township voters say no to increase

Voters appeared headed toward approving the extension of a property tax increase for Perry Township schools, but a property tax hike for Franklin Township schools seemed likely to be defeated Tuesday night.

With about 91% of Marion County vote centers reporting, 61% of Perry Township voters favored an extension of a property tax increase they first approved in 2015.

If the Perry Township referendum is approved, property owners will continue to pay an additional 42 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to generate $19.3 million per year, or $154.4 million over eight years. The money would be used to fund teacher and staff pay, transportation and other operating budget expenses.

Without approval of the referendum, the district would have been forced to cut more than 200 jobs, including 193 teaching positions, and reduce transportation services.

About 62% of Franklin Township voters were opposed to a tax increase, according to the latest tally at 10:30 p.m. The district’s proposed tax hike was intended to generate about $98.4 million over 22 years, with most of it going toward building an additional wing on the 50-year-old Franklin Central High School and making improvements at six elementary schools.

Property owners would pay about 21 cents more per $100 of assessed valuation. The average homeowner’s overall tax bill would increase 10%, according to the district’s referendum calculator.

School officials have said the construction is necessary to support the district’s growing enrollment, which has increased by nearly 2,000 students since 2017.

Three previous school referendums were rejected by voters—twice in 2009 and once in 2011. Franklin Township is the only one out of 11 Marion County school districts that has not passed a property tax referendum.

WFYI and Chalkbeat contributed to this report.

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